Enthusiasm for Celtic music workshops continues

Amanda Jess
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Ceilidh dependent on storm

LISMORE – They’re having way too much fun to let Arthur get in the way.

Thirty-two young and old music enthusiasts had three days of perfect weather during the 11th annual Workshops in Music and Gaelic, this year held at the Lismore church, ranging with participants ranging from age five to 95.

With the final performance, a ceilidh, scheduled during Hurricane Arthur’s landfall in Nova Scotia, organizer and president of the Pictou County Celtic Association Frances MacDonald is prepared to cancel it if she needs to, but not just yet.

“Use common sense,” she said, adding that if the weather is really awful and other cancellations pop up, the ceilidh will be off too.

The air was thick with humidity with a warm breeze on Friday as the workshop participants continued to learn and have fun with their instruments.

They put down them down when a new face showed up, all too eager to talk about their experience immersed in Celtic music.

Many of them were on the younger end of the spectrum, taking advantage of an opportunity to try instruments they otherwise may not be able to.

“(It) gives a kid a chance; that’s what it’s all about,” MacDonald said. 

For four days, the young and old have a chance to learn fiddle, step dancing, bodhran, piano accompaniment, tin whistle, Gaelic song and language, rug hooking, and guitar.

“(It) gives a kid a chance; that’s what it’s all about” Frances MacDonald, president of the Pictou County Celtic Association

Traditionally, participants have been asked to bring their own instrument, but thanks to a lottery held by the association, the group was able to provide instruments for the duration of the workshops that they purchased by money raised from the 50/50 draw.

The lottery raised more than $8,000 for the association, representing 25 per cent of the funds raised with the remaining 25 per cent going to the Merigomish Fire Department.

“We didn’t know how to play these instruments until Frances taught us,” eight-year-old Michael Duggan said proudly.

He had been playing guitar for more than a year, but had never held a bow, he said before showing off his ability to play Mary Had A Little Lamb.

He repeated how appreciative he was of his instructors, especially 15-year-old Luke Henderson.

Weather permitting, the ceilidh will be at the Lismore church at 7 p.m. on Saturday with admission by donation.

It’s open to the public.



On Twitter: @NGNewsAmanda 

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